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Marex Spacecam update July 5, 2003



ISS Amateur Radio Status: July 5, 2003

SpaceCam1 Slow Scan TV project for ISS, Update
Houston SpaceCam1 Testing

By Miles Mann WF1F,

MAREX-MG News

Manned Amateur Radio Experiment

SpaceCam1 Slow Scan TV project for ISS, Update

The MAREX-MG/ARISS SpaceCam1 SSTV System is an entry-level PC based Slow
Scan Television system designed to be used on board the International
Space Station.  The SpaceCam1 system will support multiple common SSTV
transmission modes.  SpaceCam1 has been specifically designed to be
accessible to as many Amateur Radio stations as possible around the
world.  The original proof-of-concept system was built by the MAREX team
and successfully flown on the Russian Space Station Mir (December 1998
until August 1999).  The proof-of-concept system has proven the ability
of the hardware design and it has taught us how to make additional
improvements for the next generation SSTV system for ISS.

In January 2001 the SpaceCam1 project was accepted project by the ARISS
team to be one of the future Amateur Radio projects for the
International Space Station.  
http://www.marexmg.org/spacecam/spacecam.html

The SpaceCam1 software has been under development since 1999 and is
being created by the SiliconPixels team managed by Jim Barber (N7CXI).
http://www.barberdsp.com/spmain.htm

Houston SpaceCam1 Testing June 2003:
In order for any project to be approved for Space flight operations it
must be first safety certified.  The certification process for any
project going into the ISS is a very lengthy process. 
Last week the MAREX team went to Houston to meet the ARISS review team
along with representatives from NASA and RSA.  This was the first time
we had access to a selection of ISS computer and amateur radio
equipment, similar to the equipment actually on ISS.  One of the goals
was to load the SpaceCam1 SSTV software on ground flight equipment and
test all the equipment's ability to interoperate with the SpaceCam1
software.  We were able to demonstrate that the SpaCam1 software worked
well with the two different laptop computers currently in use on ISS. 
SpaceCam1 also worked very well with the two different amateur radio
systems.  The testing session also provided us with additional
information on documenting the user manuals, since each computer/radio
configuration is a little different. There is the possibilty that an
additional End-to-end testing session may be required in Russia later
this year. 

The ARISS Hardware Manager Lou McFadin (W5DID) was assigned the task of
building an Audio interface box for the SpaceCam1 project.  The Audio
interface box will allow the audio from a standard Laptop PC to be
plugged into the existing Amateur Radio station on ISS.  SpaceCam1 will
then be able to control the ISS Ericsson Amateur Radio transceiver radio
currently on board ISS and the future transceivers planed as follow on
projects.  

When will SpaceCam1 fly?

That's a good question. All of the flight schedules for 2003 and 2004
are being re-planned as we speak. SpaceCam1 is one of the Amateur Radio
top projects for ARISS this year, however we do not have a specific
launch vehicle slot at this time. The ARISS team is still looking
towards a late 2003 flight or early 2004. We will just have to wait and
see.

Aside from the flight, we now have all of the parts we need to submit
the flight manifest requests to NASA, except the final testing in
Russia.

Software	SpaceCam1, completed
Adapter	Audio Interface box, completed
Computer	A5 or P6300
Radios		Ericsson Transceivers, currently on ISS
Antennas	4 new antenna systems installed on ISS in 2002

All work and no Play:
While we were in Houston, we did have a little fun.  ARISS and the W5RRR
club treated us to a nice cookout and tour of the club station.  And
later we had the opportunity to meet and talk with 4 different
astronauts/cosmonauts (Expedition Six Commander Ken Bowersox, Science
Officer Don Pettit, Mir/Shuttle astronaut Mike Foale and Mir Cosmonaut
Alexander Polyshuk). The biggest thrill was when Shuttle/Mir astronaut
Mike Foale joined us for a lunch and a friendly chat.  Mike and I had
never met, however we talked about a hundred times by Amateur Radio
during his Mir mission in 1997 (see the Book Mir Space Station Gateway
to the stars).  It was great to finally meet him face to face.


SpaceCam1 FAQ:

Will I be able to receive images from SpaceCam1?

Yes!  SpaceCam1 will transmit and receive images on amateur radio
frequencies, using standard SSTV formats.  Although SpaceCam1 is capable
of operating in several modes, the standard format will be Robot 36. 
This format offers the best standard compromise between image quality
and transmission time.

In addition to two-way "interactive" operation, SpaceCam1 provides the
following fully automatic functions:

 Transmission from a live camera or disk at specified intervals 
 "Slide Show" operation from a set of images stored on the system 
 SSTV Repeater

What equipment will I need to receive the images?
http://www.marexmg.org/fileshtml/sstvlinkpage.html


Radio receiver with an outdoor antenna.  The radio receive will need to
be able to receive FM signals in the 435.000 - 438.000 MHz radio band.
A PC with SSTV software or a dedicated SSTV scan converter. 

Tracking software (optional, although it helps a lot!)

URL Update:
In April 2003 the old MAREX URL was hijacked and lost forever.  
Please do not use the old MAREX URL.

The good news is that MAREX is now MAREXMG INC.  And we have a new URL.
Our name has changed, however our goals are still the same, to help keep
Amateur Radio Satellite operations affordable.

http://www.marexmg.org/

Good by MAREX, hello MAREXMG

Take care all and good luck and please be courteous.

73 Miles WF1F MAREX-MG

Until we meet again

DOSVIDANIYA Miles WF1F
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